Why terms of use and community guidelines matter

by | Feb 2, 2021 | Home-blog, Tips And Advice

This month, Twitter and most other major social media platforms banned Former President Donald Trump’s accounts. According to the BBC, “Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has said banning US President Donald Trump was the right thing to do. However, he expressed sadness at what he described as the “extraordinary and untenable circumstances” surrounding Mr Trump’s permanent suspension. He also said the ban was in part a failure of Twitter’s, which hadn’t done enough to foster “healthy conversation” across its platforms.” Regardless of your political leanings, the ban has opened conversations around why terms of use and community guidelines matter.


Why is this ban an issue?

Well, it’s all about personal freedoms. In most western countries, freedom of speech is a protected right. The spirit of the law is that those rights shouldn’t be waived or infringed upon. And the ban has world leaders worried. According to DW, ‘German Chancellor Angela Merkel is concerned about Twitter permanently suspending President Donald Trump’s account, her spokesman said on Monday. Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin the chancellor considered the ban “problematic.” “The right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance,” Merkel’s spokesman said. “Given that, the chancellor considers it problematic that the president’s accounts have been permanently suspended.”’ The bans were enforced under the terms of use on each platform.


How can you protect your rights?

All web services publish their terms of use and community guidelines (if they have any). The first thing you can do is read them. Most people don’t. And there are a lot of concerning items you’ve agreed to in the process. Everything from waiving your right to sue, granting them access to sell your likeness and giving them rights to all your creative content; these aren’t exceptions. Before signing up to any website, you must read these terms so you can remain informed about what you’re actually giving away. Then you can decide if the service is really worth it to you. Additionally, you’ll want to limit their access. Any time you have the option to reject cookies, maximise privacy settings and skip accepting new term updates; do it. If you want more tips, check out this article.


How can you write fair terms?

If you’re running your own web business and need to create terms of use and community guidelines, be fair. Ask to retain only the minimum amount of information required to provide the service. Adhere to the spirit of GDPR guidelines, not just the letter of them. The surprising benefit of allowing your users to retain more of their personal liberties is consumer trust. When your customers don’t feel taken advantage of, they’re going to be happier with your service. Ask yourself, do I really need to own photos and reviews my clients’ post? If the answer is no, don’t include it in your terms. When you treat clients fairly, you can only benefit.


Want more help with crafting ethical terms? Talk to our helpful team.

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